Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Progress With The Board of Education

Never have I been paddled, which is the method of corporal punishment still legal in nineteen states. I have, however, been slapped many times — by several teachers and by one principal. Those who have gotten the paddle, the "board of education," the method most common in those states, claim paddles with holes in them hurt more. I wouldn’t know, but I’ll take their word for it.
I think it was in fifth grade at St. William’s School in Tewksbury, Massachusetts that a spring storm delivered three inches of snow perfect for snowballs — and just before recess. Our principal, Mother Edward Mary, anticipated trouble. Prior to the bell for outdoor recess to begin, she announced over the intercom that there will be no throwing of snowballs. Then she stood at a 2nd floor window overlooking the playground with binoculars to identify violators. In twenty minutes, she’d written a long list, and my name was on it.
Allowing time for us to return to our classrooms and put our boots and jackets away, she got on the intercom again to say, “The following boys will report to the cafeteria immediately: “Albert Brackett, Joseph Hedstrom, Thomas McLaughlin…” and about twenty others. All the classroom doors opened into the hallways and two dozen grim-faced boys filed silently down the stairs to the basement cafeteria where Mother Edward Mary told us to line up against the wall. “I told you not to throw snowballs,” she said. She approached the first boy, put the curled index finger of her left hand under his chin to lift his face to her, then slapped it — a stinging blow — with her right. She did the same to the second boy, and so on down the line. I was near the end.
When she was done, I tried hard not to look at Al Brackett because if our eyes met, I knew we would both start laughing. It wasn’t that the slap didn’t hurt, because it did. It was the exhilaration of perpetrating a shared bit of mischief and enduring the consequence collectively. It’s what we did back then, when boys would still be boys. It’s one way we bonded. Mother Superior — that was her other title — did what principals did. She was the school’s leader and insisted that rules be taken seriously. We all got that — no hard feelings. Our parents treated us the same way and none of it diminished our self-esteem. The adults were in charge, and there was security in that.
From St. William’s School, some of us went on to Keith Academy in nearby Lowell where we had Xaverian Brothers as teachers. Strong as Mother Edward Mary was, most of them were stronger. I can attest that they hit considerably harder and only once can I say that I didn’t deserve it. Every other time, more than a dozen, I had it coming. Brother Dennis hit hardest, but we all liked him. He was fair, and he liked us too. He never said it, but we knew. I think he saw himself in us.
Most of my friends went to public school and corporal punishment was common there too. One of the most respected men at Tewksbury High School was Joe Crotty. He was assistant principal in charge of discipline and my friends were frequent visitors to his office. If he closed the door, they’d get a thrashing, but they didn’t take it personally either. They all liked Joe. He had a job to do and he was fair. He liked them too and they knew it.
I suspect it’s much the same way in those nineteen states still allowing people like Mother Edward Mary, Brother Dennis, and Joe Crotty to do their jobs without threat of lawsuits. According to people calling in to a recent Laura Ingraham Show, students who misbehave were offered a choice: suspension or paddling. Most callers chose paddling because they could “get it over with quickly.” Others said they misbehaved because they wanted a few days off under suspension.
My first teaching job was a two-year stint at a private school for juvenile delinquents in Lowell They had been re-diagnosed under the new special ed law as “emotionally disturbed.” I never hit any of them, but I did have to forcibly remove some from my classroom when they refused to leave on their own. The age range was 14-18 and some were my size or bigger. If the big ones resisted there was a ruckus, but I always managed to deliver them to Dr. Herrmann’s office down the hall. He was a former running back at Kansas State. He would take them inside and close the door, just like Joe Crotty did.
That was in the mid 1970s and most states have “progressed” since then, banning corporal punishment. Schools are much better now, don’t you think?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Calloused Americans

Look! A working class white guy!

After a few hours of writing on my laptop, I need to get up, change my clothes, and do another kind of work that involves more than my brain and my fingers on a keyboard. I have to use tools invented and manufactured in previous centuries — tools like saws, hammers, drills, chainsaws, tape measures, rulers, squares, scrapers, and the like. I have to think and work in three dimensions. I have to feel my tools and materials, and smell things like earth, sawn wood, or paint. I have to move my body, lift things, climb ladders, set up saw horses — either fix something or build it.
There are callouses on my hands and I own a pickup truck. That makes me different from most Americans on the east or west coast. That I’m also a heterosexual, white guy (HWG) makes it very likely that I voted for Trump. When the uncalloused try to analyze what happened last November 8th, they refer to us as “non-college-educated white men.” It’s ill-concealed condescension, but if called out on it, the uncalloused hastily add a Seinfeldesque: “…not that there’s anything wrong with that” as a further effort to camouflage contempt.
They were the ones laughing last September 9th in New York City when a smug Hillary Clinton put half of Trump supporters into a “basket of deplorables.” We’re not nearly as sophisticated as she and her audience. We’re calloused, deplorable, HWGs. We’re “irredeemable” because we can never be as smart as they are — even though we’re the ones they call when something doesn’t work and they cannot figure out why, or something breaks and they don’t know how to fix it. They think our intelligence is limited, but we know it’s the other way around. We know more about their world than they know about ours, but they never suspect that.
NBC Pajama Boy in shock
We were the ones laughing on November 9th — at the shocked faces of the uncalloused sophisticates on NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, as well as the tearful faces on college campuses. We’re still chuckling at pussyhat marches and the rest of the protests.
Non-college-educated white men didn't borrow against their future to spend years being inculcated with progressive pap. They don’t have to spend still more years learning that what they purchased with those tens of thousands of dollars was worthless, or that it could all have been picked it all up just be reading a few books here and there. We respect the college-educated who studied the hard sciences: physics, engineering, biology, chemistry, nursing, IT, and so forth. That kind of college is worth something. It’s grounded in the real world, unlike: sociology, education, art history, journalism, or any of the “studies” — like “ethnic studies”; “queer studies”; “women’s studies”; “gender studies”; and so forth.
In the interest of full disclosure, I had to get some degrees because they were necessary for a teaching certificate, thought they shouldn’t have been. They didn’t teach me to teach. To do that, one must know the subject matter, and then be able to impart it to others. There’s no need for college “education departments.” I endured dozens of worthless courses before I could get into a classroom, but I wasn’t brainwashed by them: I worked full-time in the real world throughout the process and stayed grounded. I knew academic baloney when I heard it, and that was more than forty years ago. It’s exponentially worse now. There was a gulf between academia and reality back then, but it’s an ocean today. The 21st century college campus is La-La Land, and you won’t find anyTrump voters there. You might be escorted off campus if you even utter his name without first issuing a trigger warning. Trump voters exist only in the real world.
"Black Bloc" leftist thugs
Leftists dressed in black and wearing masks are attacking people pro-Trump rallies and conservatives on college campuses with fists, clubs, and pepper spray. Last Saturday, however, they got their butts kicked in Berkeley, California. Videos indicate the butt-kickers belong to a demographic that might be described as non-college-educated, white men with callouses. Will the left escalate beyond fists and clubs next time? Let’s hope not, but as David French writes in National Review

We are now teetering on the edge of a truly terrifying incident, one trigger-pull away from a slaughter. Campus and urban progressives have a choice to make. Is this a nation of laws? If it is, then it’s time to grow a backbone, protect free speech, punish rioters, and expel those who disrupt the educational environment regardless of ideology.

Okay, enough of writing. Time to go outside and move my body — do something in three dimensions, stay grounded.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Eleven Weeks In

Did President Trump have to be the one to enforce Obama’s red line? I’m not sure. No one else would act to punish Syrian President Assad for using chemical weapons. Ideally, it would be the United Nations, but nobody has taken them seriously since Korea. How about we just quit the UN, tell them to leave New York City and go somewhere else — like Brussels maybe? That city can have two useless international bureaucracies to COEXIST with the 300,000 Muslims who live there. Can you picture it? One big, multicultural city full of smiling, happy people holding hands? It’s a  fitting image for the capitol of the EU and the UN, right? Just watch out for airport bombers and careening trucks.
Trump let the world know last week that he’s not Barack Obama, and that’s worth something. He’s not a wuss and he’s not predictable. Now Kim Jong Un can worry that Trump might do to him what he’s threatening to do to us — at any time. Iran can worry too. It won’t likely capture any more US sailors in the Persian Gulf with President Trump as commander-in-chief. All that is great.
It’s not good, however that Trump has put US Marines in Syria. That is contrary to what he said during the campaign. A month ago I wrote about the danger:

[Ethnic groups like the] Sunni Kurds, for example, are a minority in the border areas of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey — all of which, along with Russia now, are fighting ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Kurds want to be a nation-state too, but none of the aforementioned countries will cede them their ancestral territory which overlaps all. The US is arming Kurds. Last week, President Trump put US Marines on the ground in Syria. US soldiers must now fight alongside all these groups — some of which are still fighting each other — against ISIS. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot could go wrong, of course, especially after last week’s missile attack. Trump got a lot of votes promising not to mess around in the Middle East without a clear US national interest. Sending in the Marines contradicts his “America First” rhetoric.
Among the sixteen Republicans running in 2016, Trump was my last choice, below John Kasich. He won the nomination and I resigned myself to vote for him, but I wrote several columns detailing my concerns last fall. I won’t go into detail again here: suffice it to say that Hillary was “the devil you know” and Trump was “the devil you don’t,” but I went against the prevailing wisdom that the devil you know is preferable. However Trump turns out, I figured, he wouldn’t be nearly as bad as Hillary would be.
People from different parts of the country who read those columns wrote me about their support for Trump. He alone, they claimed, had guts enough to kick a** in Washington. He certainly had the confidence, but my misgivings remained. Democrats and Republicans both needed serious a**-kicking, yes, but would Trump be the best one to do it? I’m still not sure.
During transition, he picked an outstanding cabinet but it also became evident early in that process that Obama was laying mines for him. Days before his term ended, Obama signed an executive order making wiretap transcripts of Trump campaign officials available to hundreds of people in sixteen different intelligence agencies. This made leaking hundreds of times more likely. If that wasn’t Obama’s intention, it’s hard to imagine what was. Democrats and Mainstream Media — please excuse the redundancy— were, and are, out to get Trump, no question. They’ve pulled out all the stops, but Trump is fighting back and they’re not used to that. They coined the term “fake news,” to use against him, for example, only to have Trump immediately turn it around on them. That was brilliant.
Trump’s inaugural speech was wonderful, echoing what he promised during his campaign. Many of his tweets, however, reflect an obsession with inaugural crowds and the number of electoral votes he got compared to other recently-elected presidents. His claims were obviously erroneous and they undercut his leadership. I found myself wishing his advisors would take his phone away or at least temper his impulsivity. It’s embarrassing. When asked my opinion of our president lately I say I still don’t like him, but I like what he’s doing — except for the tweets and the troop deployments.
We’re eleven weeks in now. Here’s Trump’s report card from this former teacher:

Domestic policy  — A. He reversed most Obama executive orders and is enforcing immigration 

Economy — A. He’s reducing needless regulation and spurring energy development.

Foreign policy — C. He started well, telling other countries he’s putting America first, but he’s made some risky moves lately.

Deportment — D. He’s impulsive and he doesn’t play well with others.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Strong Arm Needed For Abortion

“Calling them babies is creepy,” said Arizona abortionist Dr. DeShawn Taylor, referring to what she surgically removes from women. She admitted on a video released four weeks ago that she routinely did abortions on healthy babies up to 24 weeks. She also admitted that late-term babies born alive after her abortion attempts are sometimes killed, but that depends on who is in the room at the time.
Rather than dismember a late-term baby in utero, she tries instead to deliver it intact so as to salvage organs and other tissue for possible sale: “It’s not a matter of how I feel about it coming out intact,” she says, ”but I gotta worry about my staff and people’s feelings about it coming out looking like a baby.”

It comes out looking like a baby, Dr. Taylor, because it is a baby.

The investigative journalists recording Dr. Taylor said they wanted to buy baby parts for biomedical research and were interested in intact bodies not “mashed” by the usual abortion procedures. Dr. Taylor said she prefers to deliver the body intact because it requires a lot of strength to tear off pieces. Here’s how she described it: “I remember when I was a [Family Planning] Fellow and I was training, I was like, Oh, I have to hit the gym for this,” because ripping off legs and other parts required strong biceps in the arm holding the forceps.
She was laughing as she said this. I was horrified, as anyone with an ounce of humanity left in them would be. The video is politically explosive. Though it was released four weeks ago, you won’t see it on NBC, CBS, ABC, or CNN. Formerly medical director for Planned Parenthood, Arizona, Dr. Taylor now owns her own abortion clinic in Phoenix, where she happily reports her “market share” is up.
Sometimes the baby is born alive in spite of Dr. Taylor’s attempts to kill it during the abortion. “In Arizona,” she said. “if the fetus comes out with any signs of life, we’re supposed to transport it. To the hospital.”

The investigative journalist asked, “Is there any standard procedure for verifying signs of of life?”
“Well, the thing is,” said Taylor, “I mean the key is, you need to pay attention to who’s in the room, right?” Then she laughed again. I cringed. She obviously implied that she kills the living child if no one who might object is present to see her. That’s murder — homicide — because once a baby is entirely outside its mother’s body, it’s legally a human being. Ask abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell. He’s serving life in prison for doing what Taylor laughs about.
Infanticide and conspiring to sell body parts are both felonies. So how did authorities react? Three weeks after releasing the video, the two investigative journalists who made it, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, were indicted in California on fifteen felony counts. Attorney David French, writing in National Review, described the charges as: “recording alleged ‘confidential communications’ between complete strangers at public conferences and at public restaurants.”
French points out that animal rights activists secretly recorded conversations about the mistreatment of ducks at a California farm and reported it to authorities who then investigated the farm. In another case it was a secretly recorded conversation about mistreatment of chickens, and again California responded with an investigation. At no point were the animal rights advocates admonished for secretly recording conversations, much less indicted for it. I guess we can assume that ducks and chickens are more important than babies in California.
Pressured by citizens in Texas who watched Daleiden’s videos about similar Planned Parenthood practices in that state, Houston District Attorney Devon Anderson empaneled a grand jury to indict PP, which does 350,000 abortions a year nationwide. Since grand jury proceedings are secret, we cannot know what Anderson presented to jurists behind closed doors, but rather than indict PP for selling baby parts, they turned around and indicted Daleiden for exposing it. A year ago, I published a column documenting this. The charges were later dropped, but Houston’s Planned Parenthood still has not been brought to justice as of this writing.
See a pattern here? Daleiden’s investigative journalism exposed things so horrible, the left cannot bear to leave them out there unchallenged. They know their charges against Daleiden serve only to harass him, to cost him money and time, and to discourage him from doing any more investigating. Democrat Attorney General Kamala Harris raided Daieiden’s home and confiscated his computer, his hard drives, and the rest of his unpublished videos. Then she was elected to the US Senate. New Attorney General Xavier Becerra, also a Democrat, brought the charges. According the Washington Free Beacon, both received over $45,000 from Planned Parenthood and NARAL — the National Abortion Rights Action League.